Last week, we learned about the latest Retro Game Music Bundle – packed with (at least) five classic gaming soundtracks and a whole stack of nostalgia. Today though, the organisers have been forced to make a less-than-happy announcement, removing a handful of the titles on offer.
A blog post sums it all up:
We’re writing this blog post with a heavy heart as we have had to make some changes to our original Retro Game Music Bundle lineup. You might notice that Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem II, Major Stryker, Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure, and the NUKEM 3D: Remixes album are currently not available.
Although we dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s before Retro GMB’s launch, there are now multiple people claiming rights to certain tracks within our bundled content. Because of this dispute we have disabled access to any contested content even though we can’t be certain which claims are valid. We did this because it is of utmost importance to us that we offer official content with full respect to the authors’ copyright.
At this stage, organisers are unable to name the parties involved in the legal dispute. They reassure fans that they did have contracts with “each and every” copyright holder, but it seems that someone, somewhere, tripped up – or potentially tripped up, anyway. Details were negotiated directly with a composer or publisher, who claimed 100% ownership over the soundtracks. Now though, “another party” is claiming exclusive rights to some of the tracks, resulting in albums being pulled.
(Yes, two people claiming copyright on the same tunes – you can see why this gets messy.)
Video game music copyright is a tricky field – one company might own the names and likenesses of characters, another might own the code, still another might own the musical compositions or sound recordings. And even within that, some compositions or recordings may be owned in full or part by any number of people and/or publishers.
After being taken “by surprise” over the matter, the bundle organisersare currently trying to figure out what they can offer in exchange. Three more albums have been added to the Level 2 funding tier as a gesture of goodwill – and we are told that anything added to the bundle will be a permanent addition.
In addition we may even be able to restore the original soundtracks at a later date.